IT Ministry is funding tech startups to build apps for disabled persons. Ministry of IT and Telecom (MoIT) has allocated an amount of PKR 124 million for training and investment in tech startups with the collaboration of IT sector of Pakistan, as reported by Tribune.
Some of the funds will be allocated to train startups and private organizations to develop new applications for mentally or physically disabled people. The initiative is appreciated by industry analysts and is being dubbed as a good start for the socio-economic inclusion of disabled persons. However, sincere efforts are required in this regard to bring definitive changes to the market.
As per statistics record of Pakistan’s Public Work Development (PWD) from 2012, there are about 710,995 people suffering from mental illnesses in Pakistan and the number of special schools catering them is only 330. Meanwhile, another report of British Council from 2014, reveals that for every 230,000 physically or mentally challenged people in Pakistan there is only a single trained psychologist or psychiatrist.
We are living in the age of technological innovations and tech can certainly help disabled people in many ways. Thus understanding the need of the time, MoIT has started funding different programmes in this regard, where private-sector organizations will expedite their move to develop apps for this specific market.
MoIT and ICT R&D fund which is now known by the name of ‘Ignite”, is gearing up to make significant improvements in the lives of people who are physically or mentally challenged. They believe that startups have the potential to empower these people. According to national technology fund Ignite’s CEO, Mr. Yusuf Hussain,
“We employ innovation to help fellow citizens, challenged by impairments, to lead engaged and fulfilling lives.”
Initiatives like these work as a catalyst in the promising ecosystem of Pakistani startups.